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1120 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
POSTED JANUARY 16, 2018
(Portland, OR) –
Completed improvements enhance nature park access; more enhancements coming.
The new entry improvements at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park are complete, with a formal Portland Parks & Recreation celebration and dedication this spring.
The nearly 25-acre Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, located at 7040 NE 47th Avenue, contains ponds and natural areas. Popular uses of the nature park include education, birdwatching, light watercraft access to Whitaker Slough, and other nature-based recreation. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (CSWC) actively invite school groups, volunteers, and other partners to the park for educational and volunteer programs. However, before this project was completed, access to the site was difficult without any developed parking or sidewalks.
“Creating improved access to nature, and for all Portlanders, is a key mission of Portland Parks & Recreation,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I thank PP&R staff, City, and Metro partners for making it easier than ever before to get to and enjoy this intriguing nature park.”
In 2012, the CSWC partnered with BES and produced a concept design for significant and long-awaited improvements to the entry area off NE 47th Avenue. PP&R, partnering with the two groups, applied for and received a Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant to help fund the project, which implements the 2012 concept in an environmentally responsible manner. The Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant funding is supplemented by some Parks System Development Charges (SDCs).
The improvements to Whitaker Ponds Nature Park include a new parking lot with better access for school buses, bike racks, stormwater treatment facilities, accessible routes to the educational facilities, and a small natural gathering area. Coming soon are new sidewalks, bike lanes, a sanitary sewer extension north of Whitaker Slough, a stormwater sewer extension, and a full reconstruct of the street, thanks to our partners at PBOT, BES and the Portland Water Bureau. The Water Bureau plans to replace the 100-year old cast iron water main.
Whitaker Ponds is a shining example of a working, thriving natural environment in the midst of the bustling metropolitan Portland area,” says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “We are very excited that the nature park is now even more of a destination for area schoolchildren, hikers, and wildlife enthusiasts. Whitaker Ponds Nature Park is surrounded by industrial buildings and businesses. So this project is further proof that nature can thrive anywhere in our city, when given a chance!”
Portland Parks & Recreation extends thanks to local students, community members, and project partners for their contributions – extending a 20 year history of stewardship - in cleaning up and advocating for the site. Their work has greatly helped transform the site, a former junkyard, into a beautiful natural area. Notably, volunteers helped prepare the area for the recently installed improvements.
This project has increased the capacity of Whitaker Ponds Nature park to serve the public by improving visitor safety, accessibility, and aesthetics, and creating a more inviting public entry space. The Bureau is pleased to offer expanded educational, recreational, and stewardship activities within Whitaker Ponds Nature Park. PP&R looks forward to keeping neighbors and other stakeholders updated on the Spring 2018 celebration as plans come together.
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